As an experienced couponer, I usually prepare for about 30-60 minutes before going to the store. Yesterday I just couldn’t do that. We had just gotten back from a 4-day trip and we were out of milk, eggs, bread, veggies, fruit, etc.
So I went shopping with my coupon book and my smartphone to see how much I could save. I was surprised that I was still able to save $45.75 with coupons without even planning ahead. Yes, it did take longer to the store but to save over $45.00 was worth a little extra time for me.
Couponing at Smith’s, Kroger, etc. is very straight forward and the savings can range from a few dollars to even hundreds of dollars. I love shopping at Kroger!
Because this chain of grocery stores has so many names depending on which location you live in (the graphic shows all of the names), I’ll be referring to it by saying Kroger or Smith’s. Here are 9 ways to save big at Kroger.
#1. Use a sale-coupon matching website or apps like Grocerysmarts.com or Thekrazycouponlady.com. You can select your state and then select the store and you can see all the sale items and coupon matchups. I’ve been using Grocerysmarts these for years and love them!
If you just want to see what coupons are available and not look at a sale matchup site you can go here to Coupons.com
#2. Get a Membership card. They have TONS of coupons online that you can simply add to your rewards card. When you check out the savings are immediately deducted off of the total. A lot of the coupons have high values and some of them can even be used up to 5 times.
For example, yesterday there was a coupon of $3.00 off 3 boxes of cereal. Many of the cereals included in this coupon were also on sale for $2.49 each, resulting in $1.49 per box for brand name cereal. While stock up price for me is under $1.00 a box this was a good enough deal for me to buy the 3 boxes until I can get an even better deal. There was also a $3.00/2 packages of diapers that saved me another $3.00.
Usually, their system does get all of the coupons but check to be sure. Yesterday I noticed that the $3.00 coupon for diapers didn’t come off so he fixed it for me and gave me $3.00 cash because I didn’t realize it until after I had paid.
#3. Use manufacturer coupons (see my couponing tutorial here). Take your coupon binder in with you and use the manufacturer coupons you can. They allow as many in a transaction as you have (check your store’s policy to confirm) and in a few rare places, they do double coupons. In my area, none of the stores double coupons but I could use 10 Kellogg’s coupons on 10 boxes of cereal if I chose.
Most places have a restriction on the amount of the same coupon you can use. Kroger/Smith’s limit is 150 digital coupons at the same time and 5 manufacturer coupons (paper coupons unless the coupon specifies a different limit). Further, they send you additional Kroger coupons in the mail each month. Yesterday I used four coupons they had mailed me. YOU CAN USE ONE MANUFACTURER COUPON AND ONE STORE COUPON for the same item. It has to be a Kroger coupon, it cannot say manufacturer coupon on it in order for this to work.
#4. Make use of the clearance sections. It is amazing how many clearance items, last chance, and managers specials Kroger usually has. Yesterday they had clearance prices on bread, rolls, yogurt, meat, roses, toys, jewelry, etc. A lot of times the manager specials are in one a designated area, but sometimes items are left in the fridges and freezers with the normal priced items to keep cold. Keep your eyes out for them. Sometimes you may even have a coupon for them and get them for really cheap, free, or even make money on them.
#5. Make use of Smith’s fuel rewards. You can save even more at Smith’s buy fueling up with the reward points you’ve accrued. Often Smith’s has 4x’s fuel points on certain foods which lower the price of the item if you use the fuel rewards. They also do a 4x’s on gift cards promotion which saves a lot if you buy gift cards during that time. Last year we were going to buy a computer at Best Buy. So we went to Smith’s and bought a $300.00 Best Buy gift card and earned 4x’s the points on it.
My uncle flips homes. When Smith’s is doing the 4x’s fuel points he buys a bunch of Home Depot gift cards there and earns enough to get $1.00 off every gallon of gas he and his employees use—for months! It’s a great way to save. Even groceries add the points up quick. Just make sure to use them before they expire.
#6. Sales. Kroger often has huge sales that require you buy a specific number of specified items and you get $3.00-$5.00 off of those. For example, they will have a sale that requires that you buy 10 different items out of 50 on their list. Once you hit the 10 item threshold you get .50 off of each item. You can buy 10 of the same item or mix and match. These are AWESOME times to shop there. You can usually get great stock up prices if you use a coupon in addition to the sale price and the $5.00 off bonus. Watch for these sales and plan to shop and stock up during them.
#7. Freebie Friday! Every Friday Kroger has a free item day. If you subscribe to their emails they will email you about it. The only thing I have noticed is a lot of times these emails go to spam or trash. So I just try to remember to go to the official website and download the coupon for the free item. You usually have to redeem it within 1-2 weeks. I have gotten a lot of free stuff from Smith’s this way.
#8. Ibotta app. (This is not a Kroger specific app). If you buy an item that Ibotta and Kroger are sponsoring, you can receive a refund/payment from Ibotta. The app is user-friendly; just download it and select Grocery and then the Kroger that is near you. You will see what food and items you can get cash back for purchasing. Pairing these with a sale, or another coupon usually makes a great deal.
Right now Ibotta has a $10.00 bonus if you download it and use it in the first 7 days. They often add other bonuses to their bonus section as well once you have become a member.
#9. Checkout51– This is another ap (AND website!) like Ibotta. The best thing is that it not store specific. And usually has a higher cash back rate. You can use them both together. This is how I saved $4.50 of my 44.75. I used Ibotta and got $1.00 back and I used checkout 51 and got $3.75 in cash back. You buy things and scan the receipt and are given cash back. It’s smart to use both of these together.
Checkout51 is ALSO offering a $2.00 bonus when you redeem your first offer.
On days that I prepare before going to the Kroger, I save even more! This was just a test to see if I could still save big without prepping. Really, it was just a crazy day in which I had to get groceries and didn’t have time to prepare.
New to Couponing? Check out this post: Couponing for Beginners: 11 Tips That Will Save You Thousands.
Are you a couponing Pro? Check out this post: 17 Mistakes Couponers Make and How to Avoid them.